Today’s modern work world needs modern adaptations to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy at work, and nowhere is that truer than the need for assistive technologies to help people with visible and hidden disabilities to work to their best ability in the office world.
It’s been proven time and again that if people feel supported in their environment, they will thrive and be better employees, and this is something that all employers want!
Supported but not isolated
One of the easiest ways to make sure your employees are supported is to give them the technologies and the assistance that will mean they can carry out their job as best as possible.
Here are four assistive technologies that could help your employees to work better, work smarter, and work happier:
Colored Screen Overlays
Your employee may have the best reading glasses in the world, but if they suffer from dyslexia or Irlen syndrome, which is incredibly common with dyslexia, it’s likely that they will find reading black on white not only difficult but very tiresome.
A colored screen overlay (whether it’s a physical one or a software-based one) may help to bring things back into focus and allow your employees to read and write at an average – if not better – speed in comparison to their colleagues.
You could take this one step further by ensuring that all printed material is printed on non-white paper in a sans-serif font. Just don’t go with comic sans!
Ergonomic keyboards are a great option for any employee who needs to do a lot of typing. They allow the hands to sit in a position that is comfortable and help to combat the issue of RSI.
Ergonomic keyboards, when combined with ergonomic mice, are a great way to be inclusive to any employee who could benefit, regardless of disability status. They are a fairly cheap office upgrade too.
Text to speech software
Text-to-speech software has got better and better in the last few years, especially with the advancements in machine learning and natural language processing.
Software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking has been used by school kids and adults for decades, but it’s important not to forget Google also has an excellent text-to-speech option and is fast becoming very accurate.
None of this software can yet listen to recorded audio and transcribe it, though, which would be really useful.
Large button telephones
When was the last time you used a real physical handset with a wire? It’s likely that your last handset outing for the telephone was actually at work, and those grubby little buttons aren’t that helpful for someone who has issues with their sight.
Upgrade your office landline telephones with large print buttons. Those who don’t need them won’t be affected, and those who do will be thankful that they can now make calls and use the telephones with ease.
Taking this step a bit further? Teach your employees how to magnify their smartphone screens, too, for extra help when using company cell phones.